Spanish authors dealing with hedging or the challenges of scholarly publication in English L2

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Abstract

© 2015 Walter de Gruyter, Inc., Berlin/Boston. The growing and generalized use of English in research publication today has created the need for non-native scholars not only to learn English, but to have a good command of the discourse features of all research genres (Swales 2004: 43). This pressure to publish in English has made visible the existence of certain rhetorical and epistemological differences across languages. This is, for instance, the case of Spanish medical discourse and its Anglophone counterpart. As stated by Piqué-Angordans and Posteguillo (2006: 383), "[m]edical English (ME) is a significant area of research in the wider fields of English for Specific Purposes (ESP) and English for Academic Purposes (EAP)" and much more attention has understandably been paid to it than to other languages. Only more recently, due to the increasing interest in the study of rhetorical patterns both interlinguisti-cally and interculturally, can we find some research based on the study of Spanish academic writing (Connor 1996; Valero-Garcés 1996; Moreno 1997; Burgess 2002; Oliver 2004; Martin-Martin 2005; and Morales et al. 2009). Within disciplinary discourses, the appropriate use of hedging devicesisvital for authorspresenting their knowledge in their scientific and academic discourse communities as "researchers are expected to modulate their assertions with the appropriate degree of commitment in order to make their work acceptable for publication" (Lafuente Millán 2009: 65). Thereby, in this paper we focus on Spanish and 3 main genres in scientific discourse, in other words, the research paper,thecase report and the book review in order to describe and analyze hedging expressions and attitude markers from a cross-linguistic (English vs. Spanish) and cross-disciplinary (medicine vs. linguistics) approach. In this sense, we have developed a corpus of 120 English and Spanish samples and the analyses of the two corpora suggest that hedging devices are more common in English than in Spanish and that mitigation strategies in medical discourse may differ from the ones used in the linguistics field, indicating, then, a cross-linguistic and a cross-disciplinary variation in terms of frequency and typology. Therefore, the results of the present research might interest those involved in the writing, editing, translating, teaching and learning of academic and scientific texts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnglish as a Scientific and Research Language: Debates and Discourses: English in Europe, Volume 2
Pages141-157
Number of pages16
Volume3
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2015

Keywords

  • Academic literacies
  • Contrastive rhetoric
  • Corpus linguistics and ESP
  • Hedging
  • Specialized discourse

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